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RSA urges new approach to use of the countryside

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The Royal Society for the Arts has urged that urban champions such as Lord Rogers must forge closer links with the countryside lobby.

The organisation aims to open up debate on the future of the countryside by forming a Futures Group of experts to promote rural policy and develop fresh ideas to ease pressures on land use.

And the initiative has won the support of the prime minister's chief of staff, Jonathan Powell.

RSA director Penny Egan said: 'We are a society driven by urban views and a countryside shaped from an urban perspective. We urgently need a rethink of what the countryside is for.' Minority interest groups have hijacked the rural debate, preventing wider discussions, she said.

'Some of the work Richard Rogers has done on urbanism is critical for understanding how the two sides can work together, ' said RSA Fellowship member Richard Crake.

The RSA will be running a series of lectures and debates on the issue in the autumn.

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